December 23, 2014 | Issue No. 19 | Excellent Schools Now Newsletter

On left: Rep. Chad Magendanz speaks to the ESN Coalition. On right: Sen. Andy Hill speaks to the ESN Coalition.Thank you to those who were able to join us at our recent quarterly meeting for the Excellent Schools Now (ESN) Coalition. We enjoyed an engaging discussion and were honored to have Senator Andy Hill and Representative Chad Magendanz join us to discuss the upcoming legislative session, answer our questions, and talk about how we can get involved.

Below is our last ESN newsletter for 2014. Happy holidays and see you next year!

ESN Steering Committee on Assessments

The Excellent Schools Now (ESN) Coalition Steering Committee submitted a letter to the State Board of Education on behalf of ESN regarding setting a cut score for graduation on the high school Smarter Balanced Assessments and related issues.

In the letter, the ESN Steering Committee stated support for the following principles:

  • Students should graduate high school ready for college or career.
  • We want fewer, better tests for our kids.
  • The tests that students take should be meaningful with results that allow us to accurately gauge student progress against an objective measure of what is expected of students beyond high school.

Read the entire letter online.

Meet with Legislators

Join us at regional meetings with legislators, hosted by ESN members, to discuss the upcoming session and our policy priorities. Confirmed meeting dates are listed below.

League of Education Voters State Field Director Kelly Munn is leading this effort. If interested in joining these meetings, please contact Kelly at

Stay Involved During the Legislative Session

Stay involved during the 2015 legislative session! Three organizations on the ESN Steering Committee have C4 status and send out regular action alerts during the session. To stay up on what's happening during the session and add your voice in support of ESN priorities, we invite you join their action alert mailing lists:

Cradle through College Coalition

A new coalition has formed that advocates for equity in education, from cradle through college. The steering team is made up of four organizations: Equity in Education, League of Education Voters, One America, and the Road Map Project.

The coalition's four core principles are:

  1. State investments must be made cradle through college
  2. Strong accountability for results
  3. Encourage innovation and spread of best practices
  4. Additional funding is needed

The coalition was recently profiled in the Highline Times. You are invited to join the coalition—either as an individual or an organization. Add your name to the cause.

Upcoming Member Events

Washington State PTA Common Core, Top 5, and Local Advocacy Training

Join the Washington State PTA for a fun event on Saturday, January 3rd in Auburn as we discuss Common Core and the upcoming Legislative Session.

When: Saturday, January 3, 2015
Where: Messiah Lutheran Church, 410 H Street NE, Auburn, WA 98002

Please register for the event online.

Taking Our Students Above and Beyond: How Expanded Learning Inspires Students & Helps to Close the Opportunity Gap

Come join School's Out Washington to see the amazing students of the FORWARD Space Project, which focuses on engaging Latina girls in STEM, launch their own weather balloon right from the state capitol in Olympia.

When: Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Where: Cherberg Senate Office Building (JAC)—ABC Rooms, 304 15th Avenue SW, Olympia, WA 98501

Join us to celebrate their work and to learn more about Expanded Learning Opportunities. Breakfast treats provided. Please register for the event online.

League of Education Voters Parent and Community Training

Please save the date for the League of Education Voters' annual Puget Sound Parent and Community Training.

When: Saturday, January 24, 2015
Where: Highline Community College, 2400 S 240th St, Des Moines, WA 98198

Breakfast, lunch, and childcare will be provided. Please register for the event online.

Save the Date: Stand for Children Legislative Summit

Please save the date for Stand for Children Washington's 2015 legislative summit, scheduled for February 7 in Tacoma.

When: Saturday, February 7, 2015
Where: University of Washington Tacoma, Joy Building 117, 1900 Commerce St, Tacoma, WA 98402

Breakfast, lunch, and childcare will be provided. Please RSVP for the event online.

The Excellent Schools Now (ESN) coalition includes 40 education, business, and community-based organizations across Washington state working to achieve meaningful education reform that increases student achievement.